This week (March 28 or 29), the Iowa Senate will debate Senate File 424. This bill strikes the “or red reflector” portion of the law that requires lights for riding a bicycle at night. Currently, bicyclists have an option to ride with a light or reflector.
LED lights are inexpensive and available. However, we don’t want people to be subject to fines if they don’t have a light. We were able to recommend an amendment allowing for a “fix-it ticket”. This means you need to sign an affidavit that you repaired or replaced your light within 72 hours of the infraction and your ticket (and fine) will be expunged.
People riding bicycles at night are going to have some extra responsibility to have a light and make sure you have fresh batteries or a full charge. If we are going to take on some extra responsibility, wouldn’t it be fair if motorists had the responsibility to change lanes to pass bicycles? It is already in the code that motorists have to pass on the opposite side of the road and cannot drive in more than one lane. WE NEED YOU TO ASK YOUR SENATOR TO MAKE IT CLEAR TO CHANGE LANES TO PASS BICYCLES.
Send one simple email to your Iowa Senator. We have pasted the list of Senate members below. Pick out your Senator and send an email. If you are not sure who your senator is, click for a quick search.
Some great points to cover in your email:
- 84% of bicycle crashes happen during the daytime.
- In 2013, 2% (7 crashes) occurred because the person wasn’t visible. In 2014, that number was zero.
- 50% of bicycle/motor vehicle crashes are at non-intersections
- One of the top causes of bicycle/motor vehicle crashes is failure to yield, according to Iowa DOT traffic safety.
- DOT has already changed drivers manual to reflect change lanes to pass a bicycle.
- Change Lanes to Pass is easier to enforce, teach, and learn.
- Cars cannot legally split lanes, but often do at the peril of bicyclists.
- Clear statutory language for drivers education students to learn and others to follow.
- We believe clear statutory language on safe passing would help reduce the 118 bicycle/vehicle collisions that occurred in 2014.
- We believe when safe passing laws are taught in drivers education and have clear enforcement can save lives of people who ride bicycles.
We urge you to amend and pass House File 424 with language that reflects “changing lanes to pass bicycles.”
Possible amendment language:
321.299 ADD New Section: 3. The driver of a motor vehicle overtaking a person riding a bicycle proceeding in the same direction on a highway shall pass to the left thereof on the opposite side of the highway or adjacent travel lane and shall not again drive to the right side of the roadway until safely clear of the overtaken vehicle in accordance with 321.281. Bicycle lanes and paved shoulders are considered adjacent travel lanes for the purposes of this passage.